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Throw Away Your Mission Statement

There are countless resources out there that will assist you in writing a mission statement. This is not one of them.

A mission statement can be a valuable tool within an organization…I suppose.  But, as anyone who has ever had to sit in a board room and create one can tell you, it’s mostly just a bunch of baloney—and does very little to establish your brand in the minds of consumers*.

Rather than examining your mission statement, take a look instead at your unique value proposition (UVP). Contrary to popular belief, the two are not synonymous. Your UVP may be in line with your mission statement, but they are not one in the same.

The major differences between the two are…

A mission statement is…

  • A statement that outlines what your values are and why you are in business
  • A rallying cry to get everyone within your organization on the same page
  • A familiar message (that might be duplicated among different companies)
  • An explanation of who you are
  • A wordy and long description
  • An idea based on internal perceptions
  • A message for company-wide cohesiveness and investor relations

A unique value proposition is…

  • A statement that outlines why you belong out there in the competitive marketplace
  • A singular directive to convey to your staff and, in turn, everyone outside of your organization, as well
  • A different message that is unique to your company and your company alone
  • An explanation about why you truly stand apart from other companies
  • A pithy and short description
  • An idea based on external perceptions
  • A message for marketplace-wide differentiation and marketing

Don’t let its seemingly simple message fool you, though. Identifying your UVP is no easy task. Essentially, you have to be able to finish the sentence: “The thing that makes us different from our competitors is…” Then, compare product to product or service to service.

* Unless you’re Walmart, of course, whose mission statement and UVP slogan are one in the same–"We save people money so they can live better."–which keeps employees at all levels focused on the same thing.

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